LIN 318 
Semantics and Pragmatics
Spring 2006
TR 2-3:15 
CB 209
J. Rouhier-Willoughby 
Office: POT 1049 
Telephone: 257-1756 
Office Hours: M 2-2:50; T 1-1:50, and by appt.  
web page: 


    1)  learn what semantics and pragmatics are, what semanticians and pragmaticians do and how their work is relevant to every day life with language

    2)  improve analytical skills through written semantic and/or pragmatic analyses of linguistic data

    3) describe significant semantic and/or pragmatic differences between languages

    4) improve intercultural communication

    5) explain and apply major semantic and pragmatic theories of the 20th century

    6) understand critical issues in the study of meaning and speech

    7) perform ethical and accurate collection of linguistic data

TEXTS:      Semantics, John Saeed, 2003, Blackwell Publishing
        Pragmatics, Jacob Mey, 2001, Blackwell Publishing

    Homework= 15%                
    Class Participation= 25%            

  90-100%    A
  80-89%      B
  70-79%     C
  60-69%        D
  59% or below    E

ATTENDANCE/CLASS PARTICIPATION/READINGS:  An important component of this class is in class work and discussion. You are responsible for the assignments from the texts in the daily syllabus, so that you can participate actively in both the discussion and in-class assignments. You are also responsible for the material covered in class, which may not be in the readings. Thus attendance is particularly important, and more than two unexcused absences will lower your grade by one full grade. For an absence to be excused, you must provide documentation ( Ombud/). Persistant tardiness will adversely affect your CP grade as well. We will generally have small group or individual written exercises that you will submit at the end of class. Remember that quality is more important that quantity in participation (do not talk just to hear the sound of your voice; respect others’ opinions and share the floor). Participation will be assessed daily as follows:

5     Student is completely prepared to answer or attempt to answer all questions (written or oral) and participate in the discussion/in-class exercises actively and thoughtfully (and considerately).

4     Student is partially prepared to do the above.

3     Student is minimally prepared to do the above.

2     Student is completely unprepared to do the above.

0    Student is absent.

HOMEWORK/E-MAIL:  You will have weekly written assignments in the weeks that you do not have a paper due. Most of them will be assigned via e-mail, so that each of you should have an e-mail account by the next class. If you already have an account, make sure that it is activated and that you have the correct address. If you need to open an account, go to 110 McVey Hall. You can also get an account on-line at  Check your e-mail every Friday for these assignments. They are due at the beginning of class on the following Tuesday.  Late homework is not accepted without prior approval.  All written work must be typed or it will not be accepted. Your written work should reflect the standards of a university (i.e., accurate spelling, correct grammar, etc.). All written work must be typed. Your written work should reflect the standards of a university (i.e., accurate spelling, proper grammar, etc. You may work together on the assignments, but once you begin writing the answer, no consultation with others is permitted. By university policy, the minimum penalty for handing in an assignment any part of which is plagiarized or from which another student is allowed to copy is an E for the course. Note that e-mail is often the quickest way to reach me, but feel free to make an appointment or come see me during office hours to discuss the course.Your written homework will be assessed as follows:

5     Student has demonstrated mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, familiarity the readings and class discussion. The response is original, well-thought out, written and/or organized and supported with examples/data.

4    Student has demonstrated some mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, some familiarity the readings and class discussion. The response is less original, well-thought out, written and organized. It is supported with some examples/data, but not all points are adequately supported.

3     Student has demonstrated minimal mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, minimal familiarity with the readings and/or the class discussion. The response reiterates a common interpretation, is minimally well-thought out, written and/or organized and is supported with minimal examples.

2     Student has demonstrated no mastery of the concepts/theory under consideration, no familiarity the readings, the class discussion and other students' responses. The response is not     original, well-thought out, written and/or organized or contains no support from     examples/data.

0     Student does not submit the assignment.

PAPERS:  You will two paper assignments this semester, one in each half of the class (see due dates below in the daily syllabus). They will involve collection of and analysis of data (English unless you would like to work on another language you know) according to the theories we discuss in class.

LEARNING STYLES:  One of the fundamental goals of this course is not only to teach you about semantics, but to increase your skills as an analyst. However, not everyone has the same way of learning. You will take an assessment (on the web site above, click on Learning Styles Assessment) before Friday at 10 a.m. The results should inform you a great deal about yourself and what you should do to master the material for this class and for other classes. I am a firm believer that the teacher/student relationship is a partnership. I cannot open up your brain and pour information into it. You must be an active participant to succeed. Learning style analysis will give the opportunity to take more control of the learning process.

COURSE EXPECTATIONS: This class requires a great deal of work, including writing, reading and preparation for class participation. I have high standards for my classes and for the students in them. However, I have similar high standards for myself.
    -I will return your homework papers by the next class, so that you can see how you are doing and where you need work. Papers/project components will be returned within a week.
    -I will be at my office hours. If I have to cancel office hours, I will e-mail you the changes and will offer alternate times to ensure that I am in my office at least 3 hours a week.
    -I will make appointments with you if you cannot meet with me during office hours.
    -I will always try to answer questions in class and outside of it.
    -I will provide you with as many opportunities to speak as much as possible in class. I will try to ensure that this class is student-centered, not teacher-centered.
    -I will help you if you have particular problem areas through learning styles analysis as well as in one-on-one consultation.
    -I am flexible regarding deadlines (within reason), but a majority of the class must agree for a deadline to be changed. You should expect that once a deadline is set, all work is due by class time.
    --The course schedule below is flexible and approximate. If you are having trouble with a concept and need more time, we can adjust the schedule as needed.
    -I will try to make this course as relevant to your goals as is possible. However, there are certain academic requirements that need to be fulfilled.

(as far as we can predict)

1/12     **Introduction to the class

1/17    **Semantics: Introduction to the Issues
    Read Saeed pp. 1-47
1/19    **Semantics: Introduction to the Issues
    Continue discussion of Saeed, pp. 1-47    

1/24    **Word Meaning
    Read Saeed pp. 51-79
1/26    **Word Meaning
    Continue discussion of Saeed, pp. 51-79

1/31    **Sentence Relations and Truth        
    Read Saeed pp. 86-110
2/2    **Sentence Relations and Truth    
    Continue discussion of Saeed, pp. 86-110

2/7    **Sentence Semantics                    
    Read Saeed pp. 116-143
2/9    **Sentence Semantics
    Continue discussion of Saeed, pp. 116-143

2/14    **Sentence Semantics    
    Read Saeed pp. 148-174
2/16    ** Sentence Semantics
    Continue discussion of Saeed pp. 148-174
2/21    **Meaning Components
    Read Saeed pp. 245-284
2/23    ** Meaning Components
    Continue discussion of Saeed pp. 245-284

2/28    **Cognitive Semantics
    Read Saeed pp. 342-378
3/2    **Cognitive Semantics
    Continue Discussion of Saeed pp. 342-378

3/7    **Pragmatics: An Introduction to the Issues
    Read Mey pp. 1-30
3/9     **Pragmatics: An Introduction to the Issues
    Continue discussing Mey pp. 1-30


3/21    **Context, Implicature and Reference/Context and Inference
    Read Mey pp. 37-60 AND Saeed pp. 181-204
3/23    ** Context, Implicature and Reference
    Continue discussion of Mey pp. 37-60 and Saeed pp. 181-204
    **Paper #1 due
3/28    **Pragmatic Principles
    Read Mey pp. 67-88 AND Saeed pp. 204-210
3/30    ** Pragmatic Principles
    Continue discussion of 67-88 and Saeed pp. 204-210

4/4    **Speech Acts
    Read Mey pp. 92-126 AND Saeed pp. 219-239
4/6    **Speech Acts
    Continue discussion of Mey pp. 92-126 and Saeed pp. 219-239
4/11    **Conversation Analysis
    Read Mey pp. 134-163
4/13    **Conversation Analysis
    Continue discussion of Mey pp. 134-163

4/18    **Metapragmatics and Pragmatic Acts
    Read Mey pp. 173-229
4/20    **Metapragmatics and Pragmatic Acts
    Continue discussion of Mey pp. 173-229
    **Paper #2 due

4/25    **Pragmatics Across Cultures and Social Aspects of Pragmatics
    Read Mey pp. 262-321
4/27    **Pragmatics Across Cultures and Social Aspects of Pragmatics
    Continue discussion of Mey pp. 262-321